Paramount Home Entertainment has announced no fewer than four western movies from its late-60s and early-70s catalog for Blu-ray release on May 31, in time for Father's Day: Big Jake (George Sherman, 1971), A Man Called Horse (Elliot Silverstein, 1970), Once Upon a Time in the West (Sergio Leone, 1968) and Rio Lobo (Howard Hawks, 1970).
Special features have been listed only for Once Upon a Time in the West and they include:
Commentary featuring directors John Carpenter, John Milius and Alex Cox, film historians Sir Christopher Frayling and Dr. Sheldon Hall plus cast and crew
The Once Upon a Time in the West is one of the best looking DVDs I have ever seen. Upscaled it looks amazing. I don't have it to hand, but can someone tell me if the special features are the same please?
But somewhat disappointed in the extras: all ported over from the DVD, with almost nothing new - except for a trailer in HD...? for a 50 year-old movie...!?
Oh well, as long as the transfer is polished...
What a disappointing list - except for the Sergio Leone classic.
Paramount left much better westerns in the vaults including "Who Shot Liberty Valance" (Wayne & Stewart), "Shane" (Alan Ladd), "The Tin Star" (Henry Fonda), "Will Penny" (Charlton Heston), "Gunfight at the O.K. Corral" (Kirk Douglas & Burt Lancaster), "The Sons of Katie Elder" (Wayne), "The Last Train From Gun Hill" (Douglas and Anthony Quinn) and "Nevada Smith" (Steve McQueen). Paramount could have released "Nevada" the same time as McQueen's "Le Mans" coming out on Blu-ray in May.
Hopefully Paramount keeps the natural film grain for "Once Upon a Time in the West" and doesn't use DNR like Fox used on "The Good, The Bad and the Ugly" which has waxy faces and lost detail. Fox didn't use DNR for the other two Eastwood westerns ("A Fistful of Dollars" and "For a Few Dollars More") and the Blu-rays have much more detail and overall sharpness.
All of the Leone Westerns used a film process (Techniscope) that produced a much larger film grain. The process produced two frames per the normal one 35mm film frame and then it was enlarged in the lab process which causes the grain to be larger. This saved Leone half the film cost.
I've been anticipating the blu-ray of Once Upon a Time in the West for what seems like forever. And now it's finally happening. One of my favorite films and probably my favorite of Leone's films. Given that it's Paramount, the transfer will likely be above average. For me, this is a no-brainer preorder. I'll also check out Rio Lobo from the great Howard Hawks. I hope the crest of the "wave" of Paramount classics on blu rises and stays high indeed.
@ WVbkelley: I also hope some of those films will come to blu soon including The Man Who Shot Liberty Vallance, Shane, and Gunfight at the OK Corral.
Once Upon a Time in the West! Let's hope its the recent restoration that premiered at The Rome Film Festival in 2007. It was Martin Scorsese's The Film Foundation that made the great effort of restoring he film.
"Margaret Bodde, executive director of the US-based Film Foundation set up by Scorsese and others, says the American director, who knew Leone, had the idea of getting the movie restored after watching the DVD released in the US. "The colour was really not correct and the quality not up to what it should be," she says."
"It can also require tact. Before work can begin on Once Upon a Time in the West, an agreement will have to be hammered out between Paramount, which owns the non-Italian rights, and the family of the late director, which has the negative."
I just sold off the DVD for Once Upon a Time in the West since the Blu-ray was rumored to be coming out. I always thought it had a great looking transfer, but rewatching it, as nice as it looked for a DVD, it could use a HD upgrade.
The big surprise for me is that one of my favourite Richard Harris movies 'A Man Called Horse' is finally coming out on Blu Ray. That and Once Upon a Time in The West are definite first day buys for me.
@ WVbkelley; i agree, other than Once Upon a time in the West the list is not the best choices Paramount could have gone with. Other Paramount Wayne titles The Shootist (35th Aniv) and El Dorado could have been considered. Gunfight at OK Corral and Last Train from Gun Hill are 2 I would personally love to have on Blu ray.
It is a bit surprising that "man who shot liberty valance" and "El Dorado" didn't get released first over the other two Wayne films, as they were released in the centennial collection while the others were not.
not really a big deal, as paramount needs to release every wayne film they have the rights to anyway.
I think this bodes well for that.
as far as "other" great westerns they have like "Shane" or "Gunfight at OK Corrall" I agree they should be released, but I certainly don't think "A man called horse" should be criticized--it's an all-time classic also.
I mean C'mon.
Same here. I'm glad more John Waynes are hitting blu-ray, and hope for more. But May already has two more John Waynes from Fox/MGM, which is the month of his b-day, so rock on. Four John Waynes in May. I'll also pick up Once Upon a Time in the West.
EChopper: I don't think One-Eyed Jacks is owned by Paramount. I know they once released it on laserdisc but it has now fallen into the public domain, which wouldn't have happened if Paramount still owned it. As far as I know, it is owned by the Brando Estate, who clearly have no interest in releasing it on any kind of home video format. Sad but apparently true. Maybe they could be persuaded to license it out to Criterion, but it hasn't happened so far.
Ha...just got the "Once Upon A Time In The West" DVD and played it on my BD player and found myself immediately desiring a BluRay of it...Can't wait for this.
However, Paramount does need to get "The Man Who Shot Liberty Vallance" on BD. We need more John Fords overall.
Now that we know "Once Upon a Time in the West" is coming out on Blu-ray, I hope they'll soon get around to releasing Sergio Leone's 5th and final 'Spaghetti Western', "Duck, You Sucker" (aka: Fistful Of Dynamite).